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Selfridges becomes the latest company to ban exotic skins

Lauretta Roberts
26 February 2019

Luxury department store Selfridges has become the latest company to ban exotic skins having banned the sale of fur back in 2005.

The company said that python, alligator, crocodile and lizard would no longer be sold in its stores from February 2020 and it would only sell leather from agricultural livestock.

“At Selfridges, we are dedicated to being at the very forefront of future thinking retail. For us, that’s a future where luxury is defined by craftsmanship and material innovation. I am proud to confirm that exotic skins will no longer be available to purchase at Selfridges as of February 2020.

"We will continue in our ambition to inspire our brands and customers through thoughtful, ethical and transparent buying strategies,” said Selfridges Buying Director, Sebastian Manes.

Selfridges introduced the "Buying Better, Inspiring Change" initiative in 2016, which is central to the retailer’s business strategy. As part of this strategy Selfridges is committed to ensuring that 50% of all products are better for people and planet by 2022, while guaranteeing that ethical and environmental considerations are made visible and accessible to customers.

This commitment is supported by Selfridges in store and digital creative campaigns, including the new talent initiatives Bright New Things (2016) and Material World (2017), which highlighted and celebrated innovations in sustainable fashion. Bright New Things is now a permanent fashion category, representing "exemplary labels selected for their ethical stand-point".

As part of the ongoing Project Ocean campaign, Selfridges removed all single-use plastic water bottles from sale in 2015, adding all single-use carbonated drinks bottles in 2018. Since 2017, Selfridges’ signature Pantone 109 yellow paper bags have been made using upcycled coffee cups from Selfridges’ stores and Head Office; and since the beginning of this year, all garment bags have been made with used plastic bottles.

“Buying Better Inspiring Change underpins our business and our culture. As a leading global retailer, Selfridges seeks to use its influence to encourage partners and people to buy responsibly, respect the planet and protect our future,” said Selfridges’ Director of Sustainability, Daniella Vega.

The move to ban exotic skins follows on from similar moves by global luxury giant Chanel and designer Victoria Beckham. The Humane Society International, which has been lobbying with great success for brands and retailers to drop fur and exotic skins, praised the announcement.

“It is wonderful to see Selfridges end the sale of exotic skins, a move that will save countless crocodiles and snakes from losing their lives. When Selfridges went fur-free more than a decade ago, it positioned itself as a retailer at the forefront of compassionate fashion. Banning exotic skins in recognition of the serious animal welfare issues that exist in this industry is a natural next step for a responsible retailer,” says Claire Bass, Executive Director of Humane Society International.

Other brands that are exotic skins-free include Arcadia Group, ASOS, H&M, Mango, Nike and PUMA.

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